Day 13: Religion and history of the Ottoman city Bursa

Today was our first, and only full day in Bursa. We started off our morning by visiting the Ulu Cami Mosque. Inside, there was a large fountain for those who wished to partake in the traditional Muslim cleansing rituals before their prayers. Next we went to the Green Tomb, a mausoleum, which originally held the body of the fifth Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed I. The building was entirely painted blue on the outside, and had many small carvings across the entrance. Inside were three blue and green tombs, all carefully inlaid with jade and turquoise. The detail with which each of the tombs were created was amazing to see in person. Despite the rooms lighting being low, the metallic shine of them still caught everyone’s eye. The last thing on our group agenda was another Mosque. This one was much smaller than the first and had distinctly different tiled walls, built much before the time of the first mosque we visited, the Sultan Ahmed.

After we made our rounds through all the required stops, the group was given some free time. I chose to go with Mrs. Martinelli and a few of the other girls to the Turkish Hamam (the Turkish Baths). Wanting to get the full experience, I signed up for a scrub as well as general admittance to the pool. The scrub was a bit harsh but overall the experience was worth it. The rest of the afternoon was eating lunch and packing up our suitcases before dinner to be ready for the return trip to Istanbul in the morning.

Elizabeth Burdge